Re: Obesity

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 00:32:24 MST

On Thu, 30 Mar 2000, Brian D Williams wrote:

> From: Jeff Davis <>
> >Doesn't it seem logical that the fat so released is, at least
> >temporarily, in the bloodstream?

Jeff, I'm not sure this is true. I need a biochem book to check
this and don't have one in Mosow. It may be that the fat is
converted back into glucose before being released to the bloodstream.

In brown fat cells, the fat is burned directly by the cells to
produce heat.

> >If this process was understood more precisely, might it not be
> >possible to
> >(1) artificially signal the fat cells to release the fat, then
> >(2) divert the blood to a circuit outside the body, where the fat
> >could be separated (perhaps by centrifuge) and removed?

Rather than release the fat, why not just burn it? A huge
chunk of your energy budget goes into temperature maintenance
(outside of the tropics). There are clearly hormonal controls
on temperature (look what happens in a fever). They just need
a drug that heightens brown fat cell metabolic activity a few
percent and you could watch the fat melt away. Much less invasive.
The possible down side of this is heightened free radical production
in the brown fat cells that might eventually damage them to the
point of being nonfunctional.

Another alternative would be a drug to trigger additional protein
breakdown (and re-synthesis). Since this process requires significant
amounts of energy, your body would pull the required resources from
the fat cells (just as exercise does). The advantage of this is
that the metabolic activity would be more distributed and the
pretein recycling would increase the new(undamaged)/old(damaged)
protein ratio, leading presumably to a better functioning of the

In the next few years we will probably see lots of progress on
this area since the targets are clear, the methods exist to screen
for the drugs rapidly and the market is so large!
> Twice a month I donate platelets which has the temporary effect of
> lowering your cholesterol. So perhaps if we discover the right
> trigger chemical this would induce people to give regularly.
Brian, do you have a real reference for this? I thought platelets
were mostly protein, in which case the donation would have a
questionable effect on fat. [Of course there is some in the lipid
bilayer, but that seems small.]


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